Briefs, November 30, 2012

PUBLISHED : Friday, 30 November, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 30 November, 2012, 4:21am

Fears of Syria assault as internet goes down

DAMASCUS - Most communications were down in Syria and clashes near the capital closed off the road to Damascus airport, monitors said, as rebels warned of a possible government assault. US technology companies Akamai and Renesys which monitor web traffic said the war-torn country was cut off from the internet. In Damascus, users said both internet and mobile telephone communications were cut and land lines barely functioning. The state news agency SANA also had its feed interrupted at midday. According to activists, sudden communication cuts are often a signal of imminent military offensives. AFP


Ex-PM of Kosovo not guilty of war crimes

THE HAGUE - The UN Yugoslav war crimes court has acquitted Kosovo's ex-prime minister Ramush Haradinaj and two aides in a retrial on charges of murder and torture during the 1990s war of independence from Belgrade. Judge Bakone Justice Moloto ordered the men released in a decision that is certain to enrage Belgrade. The court's public gallery erupted in cries of joy as the acquittals were announced. Haradinaj, 44 and Idriz Balaj, 41, were being retried on six war-crime charges at the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia for allegedly murdering and torturing Serbs and non-Albanians during the 1998-99 war. AFP


Court limits access to Pussy Riot videos

MOSCOW - A Russian court issued an order to limit access to the videos of performances by the jailed feminist punk band Pussy Riot, including the infamous "Punk Prayer" in the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour, ruling the films to be extremist. The judge also listed as subject to restriction the official Pussy Riot webpage and the band's popular Livejournal blog, the location of most of its manifestos and photos from other actions. The decision supported Moscow's prosecutors, who told the court that linguistic experts found the clips offensive. AFP


Shiites targeted as bombs kill 38

HILLA - Bombs targeting Shiite Muslims and security forces in Iraq killed 38 people and wounded 107 others in the deadliest day of violence to hit the country in more than two months. The attacks, the worst since 76 people were killed on September 9, marked the second series of bombings against Shiites this week. The latest violence brings the number of people killed in attacks this month to at least 145 - nine more than in October, reversing three months of declining death tolls. AFP


Lindsay Lohan in trouble with law again

NEW YORK - Actress Lindsay Lohan was arrested early yesterday morning after police said she hit a woman during an argument at a New York City nightclub. It was just the 26-year-old Mean Girls and Freaky Friday star's latest brush with law in the city. She was arrested at 4am and charged with third-degree assault. Police said Lohan had allegedly got into a spat with a woman at Club Avenue in Manhattan's Chelsea area and allegedly struck the woman's face with her hand. The woman did not require medical attention. Lohan is still on informal probation for taking a necklace from a jewellery store without permission last year. AP

US nanny in stabbings pleads not guilty

NEW YORK - A US nanny accused in the stabbing deaths of two children in her care at their upmarket home near Central Park has pleaded not guilty through her defence attorney. The judge ordered Yoselyn Ortega to be held without bail while she undergoes a psychiatric exam. Authorities allege that on the evening of October 25, Ortega repeatedly stabbed six-year-old Lucia Krim and her two-year-old brother, Leo Krim. When their mother, Marina Krim, returned home with her three-year-old daughter, she found their bodies in the bath, with Ortega on the floor with stab wounds to her neck, authorities said. AP

Clerical workers' strike shuts down US ports

LOS ANGELES - A strike by clerical workers shut down terminals at the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach after other workers refused to cross picket lines at the nation's busiest combined cargo complex. Seven of eight terminals at the Port of Los Angeles were shut down, along with three of six terminals at the neighbouring Port of Long Beach, officials said. The strike is the largest work stoppage at the ports in a decade. Reuters